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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  February 9, 2010 2:00am-6:00am EST

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but we could eliminate 80-90% of the problem easily with a small number of countermeasures which would be very easy to distribute, and for those who are on comfortable putting it in the hands of each family and the two you could put it in firehouses and schools and local town halls. this is an issue i have to say it is astounding we haven't been able to do this been able to do@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @
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to aviation your right, we can't do it in the area of the subway what we do in aviation. we can't do it in the area of the shopping mall what we do in aviation. it's true aviation is a particularly high-value target. all we can do is try to balance by putting in the appropriate level of countermeasure for what we think the threat is based upon a consequence of an attack and based upon how likely we think it is someone wants to carry out the attack. as technology increases we will have better ways of dealing with explosives and subways or explosives in shopping malls. what we are not there yet. so all we can do in the meantime is use whatever countermeasures' we have in those areas.
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but in bidding to the argument is a common argument that we face in homeland security which is the perfect enemy of the good. because you're countermeasure isn't perfect it isn't worth doing it at all and a great example is the christmas day bombing which obviously was a failure in the sense that someone got on a plan with a bomb that was concealed in their underwear but recognized in many ways it was a forced error on the tourists because the countermeasures and the security we have enough police force the terrorists to put together a device that is in fact difficult to get the lead could detonate, not impossible. if we didn't have anything we have in place now they would have wallsten with a pre-made bomb very simple to operate and it would have blown the plan up, so even though the dustin of december 25th this we have more to do there's also a lesson we've already done quite a bit and i think it is that balance we have to keep in mind when we look at the issue how much security is enough.
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>> excellent. let me also in the hopes the next speaker will a arrive sometime one of the things i know she has looked at and you had experience with the olympics coming up at the end of the week we in vancouver on the order you were experienced with the super bowl in detroit right on the border also. what would you say is the extent of cooperation in these big yvette corydon security alleges? are we getting better than and do you have any hope that the olympics will be coming off pretty well this time? >> we've had phenomenal cooperation with the canadians across the board, not just in sporting defense but also day-to-day security across the border. when you have these large sporting events we have various levels of security ranging up to
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what they call a national security especially that which is the highest level of security. enormous amount of work is done in advance in preparing the infrastructure for security in those kind of the events. there's intelligence collection, there is planning with respect to how do you monitor who comes into the sports press. they put an air cap on to make sure people are not flying planes and accounted for in the aerospace. there are biological and radiological response capabilities in place. there's a huge amount of stuff done behind the scenes and deliberately obscured because you don't want to spoil the eve and by making it into a technology chauffeur security devices. so we do in all of lot of work redundant for each of the u.n. general assembly's. we've done that for each of the super bowls and we did for the inauguration which was a huge security effort out of the planning which began three or
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four months in advance. and when we have these cross border defense we work closely with the canadians in order to make sure we've covered both sides of the border. >> other questions, comments? there's a gentleman here in the front row. >> george washington university. mr. secretary, thank you for your time and service. recently the president's choice to head tsa with the nomination amid controversy about his position on the unionization of the tsa workers i'm wondering what your view is on the effective unionization on homeland security personnel as somebody that has obviously had the top job. >> the administration's position was a post under president bush was to oppose unionization of tsa. in particular because typically if a work force is unionized any
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changes conditions have to be dealt with negotiated and often we saw this in 2006 when we had the airline bombing plot in london or to change things quickly. and so the need to bargain or get to the grievance process becomes an impediment. we did work hard to try to elevate morality in tsa and create mechanisms for feedback because the point of avoiding unionization isn't because we don't care about them are -- moral of the officers because we do what we want to operate in a nimble matter. it isn't unionized because you don't want to have marines going in grievance when they get sent overseas. i know the current administration has a different view on this. i don't know that the tsa nominees withdraw was related to that. i think other issues cannot. the one thing i would say is we have had a delay in filling
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these spots, not only the head of the tsa but the head of customs and border protection. we are now over a year into the new administration. again, this shouldn't be a partisan issue. within reason any president is entitled to have his or her own people in the top spots. and i would encourage everybody involved in this process to get these jobs filled as quickly as possible. ..
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the fbi presides over a the process of the terrorist screening database of the every agency gets to have some participation through decisions made about who gets on to what listen terms of how dangerous they are and than that becomes the database on which everybody else dross. but it is important to say also that dhs and generates its own intelligence. for example for our border process we have retargeting center that uses information from the intelligence community as well as information we collected the border ourselves and integrates that in order to determine who comes into the country. and notwithstanding the fact
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that again no system is perfect if i went back on where we were in 2001 and see where we are now, we are hugely better. not only collectively but integrated lee and our analysis is better, our stovepipes have been largely eliminated. and human error remains as with any endeavor, still part of what we have to deal with so any time there is a failure as there was on december 25th, it is an opportunity to go back and look again at all the layers of security and that that is i think appropriately with the current secretary is doing in the administration is doing. >> i currently work for dhs and i thank you for your contribution. how do we defend against
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supporting or adding our support to countries like yemeni and others to help train them and help defend our issues with terrorists when they are a developing country? hogue bartee you go and how much do you depend that they won't use this against the? >> that is a great challenge and one of the problems we have traditionally come and you see it in pakistan nuc and other parts of the world, it is you have to work with the countries in the government's and the country's that are the locations where the problems arise. those countries may have ambivalent attitudes to the u.s.. notch as the government but the population, so there's always a concern about blowback, are you giving capabilities to countries that could turn on us? i think that is where building a deep set of relationships with the countries you are working with matters a great deal. it is not fashionable to say
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that personal relationships matter but they do and i think when we are able to build up a deep understanding of the countries we are working with because we put people in place, they build up a sense of trust. i think then we are better situated to calibrate the amount of help and the kind of help we give. i think in many ways that is the strategy general petraeus used in iraq is getting people in the local population connected up with the military in an ongoing basis, not that the military sorted out of an outpost interactive for a few minutes and went back but you literally have that back and forth and change that in many ways builds the kind of trust that allows to understand how to tailor the strategies of the locals. there is an old piece of advice that in many parts of the world, what people value most when you come by for a cup of tea and you
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don't want something and over that process to develop a trust that enables you and the and to do some kind of business and i think that is really what we have to do in places like yemen and other parts of not only the region but the world at large. >> we have the gentleman in the back. it will take a minute to get there. >> thank you mr. chertoff. i respect your answer that you gave to my question. however i disagree with that on one ground. recently i heard a little interview of gore vidal who may not be one of your favorites. he defined u.s.a. as the united states of amnesia, so your historical perspective that you gave to justify foreign intervention in my opinion is part of that, you know.
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basically there were lots of problems in 1991 in 92 when he said there was an attack. some of the old problems with the israeli-palestinian problems were festering for could there were other interventions in this afghanistan problem that we are talking about now, the whole incubation of the terrorist in that area was funded thanks to the united states and the cia. then the russians were in afghanistan, so those are the elements that have now turned on the united states, so i guess i don't know what to elaborate on it too much but there is a history there. >> well, i guess really, this is my recollection one that gore vidal is not even sure we should've been in world war ii so they are people who have a very different view of world history. i don't share that view. >> we really appreciate you up been so kind and so generous in sharing so many of your views with us here today.
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this has been a tremendous opportunity for change and also to get a preview of what is available in your book which we hope everyone will go out and purchase for a low price available to all this booksellers. >> and amazon.com. [laughter] >> thank you secretary chertoff very much for coming and thank you all for coming as well. [applause] for those of you who would like to have your
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>> last week palestinian and israeli journalists discuss the israeli-palestinian conflict with members of the knesset. the event was hosted by the mideast press club and speakers included the israeli deputy foreign minister and the speaker of the knesset. some of the questions and answers are in arabic and hebrew and translated into english. this is an hour and ten minutes. >> alright.
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greetings, shalom and welcome to this very special session of the mideast press club. i am the president and ceo of the media vine and nonprofit american news agency and i just want to say that it is wonderful to have each and every one of you here despite how difficult it was this morning in getting into the knesset. i am proud to open this section of the mideast press club. please turn off your cell phones and want to take a moment to just acknowledge their board members that are here today. many are sick. you can hear from my voice unfortunately. can you please stand up? david rube binger. these are some of the distinguished board members that are on the board of the mideast press club.
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the mideast press club brings local israeli and palestinian journalist together. we invite members of the foreign press to our session to observe and to chronicle and so i would like to a knowledge the chairman of the foreign press association. please stand up. connie, thank you for coming today. it is really an honor to have the. i also want to thank our distinguished guest will be addressing this today. and offer my special thanks and the impressive array of editors and pierre rajiv sedar here today, thank you very much for being here. it is about democracy, folks in be in the media profession there an awesome responsibility. no institution is more a real relationship with democracy than the press and all of its modern, with all of its modern manifestations from blogs to anemia. being here today unsighted
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israel's knesset is testimony to its democracy. actually i don't think we could have accidentally made 500 phonecalls and send the hundreds of e-mails that it took to pull this all together. but if democracy is in any part judged by press freedom, that freedom demands access and today the palestinian participants of the mideast press club are being granted the access so necessary in order to fulfill their journalistic rules and so necessary for israel's own sense of a democratic process. and for this i thank and i applaud speaker rivlin hill i hope will still join us today, a member of knesset who did so much to make this happen and all of our participants to clear their calendars to be here today because they do indeed realize how important today's event is. when we created the mideast press club in 2005, we were
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concerned that interaction and cooperation for casualties of the intifada. reporters on both sides were denied access by the other and without access complete stories could not be told. committees press club began to rebuild communication by reintroducing members of israel's press corps and to their palestinian colleagues, palestinian rioters to their israeli colleagues. we held advance, we chartered buses to bring colleagues together in tel aviv and ramallah. today with the help of the knesset speaker rivlin, minister of minorities, deputy foreign minister, deputy speaker and member of knesset, chairman of the foreign affairs and defense committee for taking a giant step forward as palestinian participants of committees press club bar here is invited guests
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free to interface with a cross-section of political thought. this is a very key point today. our palestinian members are being welcomed by a single lawmaker but by the speaker who carries with him the imprimatur of the state and representatives of the major parties. ladies and gentleman you can't be more official in this. yet some will no doubt see a glass that is half-empty and a sign blame for the fact that palestinian journalists have not been regular participants among press covering events here. but this historic inevitable need to push and we are delighted to do the pushing. as an american organization, the media bonus precht once again offer its good offices in support of democracy. and that is the theme of today's session. symbols of democracy, speaking for the record. we are meeting today in the most visible and tangible manifestation of the israeli
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democracy, the knesset. we are joined by the most necessary and irreplaceable figure of nascent palestinian democracy, the free and independent force of state. this is dave is going to accompany the palestinian people into statehood and we want to welcome speaker rivlin. thank you for being with us. in all honesty, the first session of the mideast press club for marked by apprehension and caution as attendees from both sides openly question what was to be gained by their participation. it was only after several sessions and a whole lot of exchanging business cards and cell phone numbers that be of realized how productive it is to have a colleague strategically placed to answer questions. rendell mcceachin evin supply sources all in time to meet a deadline and i am sure we all can relate to that.
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the mideast is an amazing laboratory for the study of democracy and even the most cursory of valuation can be quickly accomplished by looking at the nation's press freedom and that degree to which its media infrastructure creates a system of checks and balances on its political leadership. at this time i want to call upon knesset member to offer his greetings but before i do, i just have to take a moment to thank minister for being here. i know something came up then you are not going to be able to stay so let's take one moment for you to say a couple of words. >> mr. speaker, my distinguished colleagues, deputy foreign minister and the one and only one, one of our most influential and when i used to go and visit when i was there, i knew i had
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protection because i was together with mr. kibbe. i apologize because in the five minutes that director-general of the oecd, the finance minister gathered in the cabinet for a meeting which i didn't know yesterday i had to participate. i will just say two words. yes israel's democracy is a vibrant democracy. yes we have to fight for democracy every day, the way the speaker is fighting, the way we all are and that will say one piece about the israeli-- i feel that while the israeli, 20% of the population voting and the standard of living in palestine and the neighboring countries, this government, which i hope my
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intention and the prime minister talked to me that by the end of this month we shall see also in the meeting of the oecd, a meeting with decisions of the government to change essentially the location for the israeli arabs-- only at beared of the to a large extent because government did not give the same allocation of resources. i believe if you are for what we call the order, people from the liberal right or if you are from the left or the center, this is something that should be done. it is not only just, it is not only bold to prove that we are practicing what we preach but it also is good for the and good for the economy because the growth of israel and the future will be based not only on some
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democratic system but based on to populations that are essentially have to be moved, but the arab population of 20% is eager to participate fully in the labor force and all the power and by all my intention, and i believe all of the members here believe in that, and i do only my power that indeed is the prime minister by generally when the meeting will come in the meeting should only be a declaration because declaration -- only by location of resources and my last point, the prime minister and myself and is seriously businessmen to days before the president went to the netherlands. many of the leaders, i say all of the meters-- leaders say we have to commit ourselves in
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israel to a new deal concerning the israeli arab population. this ces of the large corporations it meant that they didn't do in the past which should be done and again 2010 is a critical year. i believe it is a historical paradox and dye said you have to follow the path. divide the holy land into two states, that is required. palestinian leadership and equality of partnership will lead to the israeli arabs not only-- i apologize and if you continue i will come to answer questions after the meeting with the finance minister and secretary general. [applause] >> thank you mr..
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he is a professor as well. he was a president of ben gurion university and minister of minorities. at this time i want to call upon the member of the knesset to offer his greetings and we decided the time is right for this session. he immediately saw the important then did what they could to make this happen. let's just shirky words about him. and member of knesset he has served in the knesset for more than 20 years during which time he has held numerous senior positions in governments including several ministerial portfolios. he currently chairs the foreign affairs committee and holds degrees in international relations and law. thank you very much. >> thank you. i like to welcome the chairman
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and now the speaker of the house and made a special effort to be here with us today and want to welcome all of my colleagues and of course all of the journalists that are here today. talese the fine me as the host of today's event. it is true and we have hosts and we have guests and muslims and christians and jewish people. we have parliamentarians from both the coalition in their position, but put aside the distinctions and the differences and you will find all of us here share a common vision. we are all really united. we are united because we have a
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common commitment to preserve and enhance the palestinian is really dialogue. this is what unites us all and we are not presumptuous to take the role of the negotiators. we don't have the authority nor the skills for that, but our decision to initiate this unprecedented even today marks our recognition that israeli and palestinian media can have a huge importance and influence on the peace process and on the future of both peoples. millions of israelis and palestinians would not personally sit in the negotiation rooms and don't sit at the negotiation table but they read the newspapers and they listen to the radio and they watch television and the surf the net, so with israeli and palestinian journalists will get to know each other better,
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consumers will gain a better understanding of our two societies. once in his really pelham-- reporter can communicate in an open matter, they will be able to describe the fears and frustrations and hopes of those people in the most genuine spirit. the way to peace and reconciliation passes through a fair and objective media. one that can serve as an honest mediator of facts ideas and emotions. this is why the work of mideast club and the media line is so crucial. this is why i accepted this challenge and agreed to host today's meeting and this is why i encourage you all to proceed relentlessly in your vital activities and eventually they will they are historic frishe.
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i wish us all a very fruitful and successful deliberations. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. you are unbeatable. >> i actually have a gift for you. >> thank you of very much. >> mr. speaker allow me. first of all, speaker rivlin is one of israel's most senior political leaders and i would venture to say one of the most respected. his determent speaker of the knesset has been marked by the commitment to the democratic process and we really thank you. i have here a letter for you, and i hope that you will recognize this today as a historic day and i'm going to
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read to you what it says. to the honorable rivlin on the professional pies report i am membership of the mideast press club it is my privilege to extend our gratitude and appreciation for hosting this historic session at the knesset. the press club initiative of the media blind news agency was created out of the need to foster communication and cooperation among professional journalists regardless of and in spite of the political climate. based on the axiom that the complete story cannot be written lse rusheed this eaks to write that story has access to all sides. committees press club was created at a time when israeli and palestinian journalists had no opportunity to chase down any leave conduct an interview or even uphold the men and women on the opposite street because of the unbridled violence. mr. speaker although barriers to complete reporting are not as great as they once were obstacles to continue along with tensions in napper hanson's they
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said they remain. your unhesitating willingness to oppose this historic meeting complete with the presence of the leading palestinian journalist alongside their israeli counterparts pays tribute to this body and to its speaker. realizing the in exorable when between democracy and free press, you have to date taken a significant step towards the enhancement of the media coverage of this region and a better global understanding of the complicated issues by virtue of the resulting enhancement of the journalism practiced here. in appreciation of their efforts i am and your commitment to a democratic process on the 19th day of january, 2010, we thank you. >> thank you very much. >> chairman of the defense and foreign affairs committee, the deputy minister, deputy speaker of the knesset, dear guess i
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welcome you to the shrine of the israel democracy, the israeli parliament, the knesset, and i must say that most of the compliments that were addressed to me to this letter i think it is a very important one. israel is the jewish democratic state and by this very definition we have a conflict. a conflict that we stand behind, the conflict between between the idea of the jewish state with the right of return to the jewish state only to braverman well we have here among those people who were born in the historic land that believe there is the homeland and we have to find a way in order to breach
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between the idea of israel as the jewish state and israel as a democratic state. sometimes, it is almost unreachable, and we have a debate. we have the debate between jews and arabs, between jews and muslims. we have a debate between the jews and the jews because the definition of the jewish state, what does that mean? jewish state according to the bible, according to the judicial ideas of the orthodox people on the jewish side, and the same idea, how come we can say that it is a jewish democratic state not one of the members of the knesset can change this division to define israel as a jewish
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state and at the same time to say that no one can change the nature of israel as a democratic one. and that this what i say to a lot of confrontations, a lot of debates, a lot of differences of opinion but nevertheless everyone of us. also those who are not socialists because i have no ability to patronize any one because i was brought up as a non-socialist. that caused me a lot of-- because i could see that everyone is a human being and although i believe in the right of the jews to create their own state, and to return back to the homeland, we have a lot of thoughts, because of that conflict because this is a conflict between two people. both of them are absolutely
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believing they are on the right side. and, i would like to say one thing. here in my family came to israel 200 years ago, only because my ancestors believed they should not operate to jerusalem three times a day but they should go and live in jerusalem. and they have left the diaspora, at the time russia and they have come to jerusalem only because they say why should we pray every day three times? we have returned back and we have found all of our friends, all of our neighbors, very good neighbors and very good friends here in jerusalem although we had some ups and downs. and we learned to understand that we are not doomed to live together, not in the middle east and not in israel.
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were sent to live together and we have to find a way to live together. sometimes we have differences of opinion about the way. i have a very good relationship with all the palestinian israelis who are serving in the knesset, but at the same time, our ideas almost unbridgeable. nevertheless, we know very well that there is no way to depart us, that there is no way for us but to learn how to live with the conflict or to find a way in order to live with that. i will-- unfortunately this is a day that we have our annual meeting with all the high court judges in israel and i apologize that i will have to leave this forum although i would be delighted to hear what you have to say. welcome once again to the knesset, a shrine of israel democracy. thank you.
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[applause] >> thank you very much. >> thank you very much speaker ruvin rivlin and thank you for your time and very important thoughts that you shared. step before the minister danny ayalon was elected ambassador to the united states but before that he advised prime minister of foreign policy. deputy minister ayalon detering twip political career, it's a good leadership as chairman of the international organization and is well-known in his current position. member knesset danny ayalon, plea shahri few words. thank you. >> thank you felice. good morning. the honorable chairman of the defense and committee of the knesset, the honorable tibi and
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deputy speaker of the house, felice and michael ferguson, media line i want to congratulate you for this great initiative and for all your work that you are doing every day. i also welcome the board of media line and member of the press, the israeli press, arab palestinian press and international press. i think that such events are the most significant in really achieving what we are trying to achieve here, which is peaceful reconciliation, which is really coexistence, dignity among everybody, and justice among everybody infinite duest on a people-to-people leval it is much more significance. it is longer lasting, hopefully everlasting, then just protocols or agreements between rovers or
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governments. as the speaker of the house said here, we are destines the live here together and they think that living here to get there will be much better for all of us in terms of sharing resources, in terms of the building a future together, in terms of in a way burying the past without forgetting it, that burying it would be much better if we all believed that this is not a zero-sum game and unfortunately, at this point, i am not sure that all of us, and i am not blaming anyone side here because this is not the idea here but i'm not sure people understand that this is not a zero-sum game. i think that by reconciliations, by working together, everybody
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will understand-- stands to gain. now, let me tell you one thing which may be a little bit provocative but it is not. when i hear that the goal, everybody says the goal now is a two-state solution. i am sorry to say this does not really speak to me. it does not really speak to me because it is so narrowly defined. it is so narrowly defined because a two-state solution could be anywhere and everywhere and if you don't but the real content to it, this is meaningless. i say that their real definition of our objective should be peace, should be historic reconciliation between palestinians and israelis, between arabs and jews. throughout the middle east, this should be their real goal, the goal should be peaceful
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coexistence, dignity, justice and security to all, which will bring prosperity to all. now, if, if the way to the school of real peace is through a two-state solution, let it be a two-state solution, which is fine. but don't put this as the panacea to all the problems, because the panacea to all the problems is once respect each other, and i to understand that at this point, because emotions may be are too high, we cannot really discuss effectively the past. palestinians have their narrative. they have the right for their own narratives justice juice and israelis have the right for their own narratives. i do say to many of my palestinian friends at this point, there's really no point to argue about the past.
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we will never agree. let's deal with the future together. we can build a future together and if you look at what this government did from day one, april 1st of last year, nine months, we went a long way. first by realizing that two-state solution is the way to achieve the peace that we all want. congressman netanyahu started with the historic speech i may say it because it comes from a the could prime minister about it to states solution. then it went on byrz,
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the gap between the national dreams and visions of their people and reality. these goals for palestinian leader as well as-- leaders. i will not speak for palestinian leaders and i would be happy to later discuss it, but of course i am not authorized to speak about it so let me just tell you about the israeli leadership in the last 16 years. the last 16 years of the peace process that started in 1993. if you recall, it started with the joint declaration of recognition between the plo signed by arafat and by then israeli government signed by the
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then late prime minister, yitzhak rabin. it was a mutual recognition and also a commitment by both sides to solve all the differences in a peaceful way, a dignified way. no more terrorism, no more violence. this was the initial recognition of each other and this was the cornerstone for the entire political process which was to ensue later on. now, if you look at the israeli position from day one, 16 years ago until now, there was an evolution, almost on a daily basis because it is quite customary. it is natural. it is understandable that when two sides sit together, there are very, very tough opening positions. this goes for business. this goes for politics.
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this goes for diplomacy. almost everything in life. you want to buy an apartment, the seller wants to put the highest price in the buyer wants to put the minimum price and then somehow they bridge to get there and they meet halfway. if you look at the israeli position from 1993 on, when there was a consensus in '93, and if you took pols and 93 about a palestinian state, i would submit to you that probably 75% of israelis would deny the possibility or with very much object a palestinian state. this was back in 93. if you fast-forward to where we are today, i would say that 75, maybe even more, if the security and the right terms are achieved , 75 and more percent of
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israelis believe and accept a palestinian state. this is an enormous enormous change that did not happen just by chance. it happened because successive israeli governments from the right or from the left educated the people, worked at a solution which again would be a real reconciliation, an historic peace between arabs and jews here in this really very small piece of land for all of us. so, we did some real steps, and they take some pain in elaborating it because i think there's a chance here to explain to our palestinian friends to see how it is from our perspective. the more we share this commodore
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perspective and our perspective without filters of noise from all kinds, i think this is the better so if you look from '93, as i said, to now, israel first signed in 94 n95, creating the palestinian authority who gained control over more than 50% of the land. certainly all of the populated areas, the six major towns in somalia or the west bank with almost full authority. later on, we signed more agreements, which we also carried out, and there were talks about an agreement, a two-state solution, evacuation of settlements. is it time to go? i just guarded now. >> we have to leave time for questions and answers.
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this is a start. >> you heard it here. >> yes. i would also like to greet mr. tibi about other things. israel is trying to do a lot of things including the settlement of the declaration in gaza, including talking about sharing the land, including a settlement freeze. maybe it is not perfect as you like it but i always say, as you say in washington the enemy of the good is the perfect. let's settle for the good here and as we say now we are moving to discuss everything. i wish also that we would see the same kind of a preparation of the public in terms of acceptance of the other side possibility, legitimacy, rights to be here and they think this is the key. if we agree on that and if we
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agree that this is not a zero-sum game, then this guy is a limit. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you debt bb4 minister danny ayalon. mr. tibi was born in-- in studied medicine in jerusalem. dr. tibi is one of the knesset's most recognizable figures as a leading voice among arab intellectuals. he has participated in international negotiations and had suggestions of finding israel as a multiculture country. mr. tibi, a member of the set and also the deputy speaker. please. >> thank you felice. i would like to thank you a lot about this unique gathering of the israelis and palestinians,
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journalist and palestinians here at the knesset. all this raises journalists were able to arrive but not all palestinian journalists were able to arrive. one from gaza is here. no one from gaza was permitted. part of this from the west bank were also prevented from arriving here. only one representative was allowed, and the editor-in-chief is european i think. i hope he will be-- american. he is at the airport, for more than four days, more than that. >> five days. >> i hope he will be released. this is the place in order to
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call in a loud voice to soon release him and to allow his free access, whatever he wants as a journalist. i can't start this gathering, this meeting without, to say that i feel euphoric, sitting much more higher than you then with your desk and by podium, but i think you can feel-- >> at least nobody throws shoes said us. >> not here. it is very unique to be in israel. it is much more guinea and tough experience to be an arab mk in the knesset.
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it is a very interesting place but it is a daily struggle. at it is a daily struggle in order to try to bridge the gap. it is a daily struggle in order to be equal. it is almost impossible. especially in this knesset, where a lot of emotions were proposed, which is mainly focusing in the equal rights for arab citizens and trying to push us as legislators to the corner. this is the way that i can tackle the speech of mr. rivlin and mr. ayalon, deputy foreign
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minister, which is demanding from us, trying to enforce arab and k's to declare reality do jewish end zionist states. demanding from arab members of the knesset to. it is almost black and white. it is obvious and a total contradiction. because, there are two narratives, which are almost as speaker rivlin said, cannot be bridged. this zionist narrative in the arab palestinian narrative. equal know what happened in 1948, and there's the zionist narrative. palestinians were in 1948 and
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from then to now, victims of the zionist ideology. no one can impose the victim to be loyal to those who acted against them. i am talking about deportation, the destruction of the whole nation, but we to believe that arabs are citizens in the same state of israel should be equal. before penner 15 years, there were no motions, no loss mainly talking about discrimination between jews and arabs. this was broken and now there are many talking about discrimination, especially under the title of israel and its
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definition as a jewish state. israel defining itself as a jewish and democratic state. jewish before democratic. is not just like that. we to believe that there's a contradiction between the teufel use. being defined as a democratic, you should lead many equal rights for all citizens. but, you cannot deal in equal terms between ahmed and danny if you are defining yourself as a jewish state, because according to his definition, danny will be superior to ahmed just because he is jewish and because i am eric. i cannot in any case, we will not accept any kind of this
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discrimination based on ethnic background. to be a democratic state, it is to be coming to deal in equal weight. last week, last week i issued a motion in the knesset. i proposed the equal value in a location of land between all citizens. i asked for modification of the law to say that israel will allocate land to all of its citizens in equal terms. at the ministerial special committee for legislation, no one minister is supporting my motion. no one minister. at the knesset, there was a vast
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majority who voted against my motion and again it was not supported by the knesset. i would like to tell you that, in the basic laws of the knesset, of israel, there is no one basic law talking about the quality as a value. and, if i will ask tha@@@@@@@ @,
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>> so you are saying we are democratic state, you see? >> i am being intimidated by the time. >> so was i.? >> i would like to-- minister braverman top about his meeting with the oecd. it is time to say that according to the oecd rules, israel should deal with equal rights with all citizens, jews and arabs. israel is not. there is no one level, aspect in the life of this real that there is equal rights dealing with jews and others. allocation of lance, education, housing, islamic properties, infrastructure. that is why i do appeal from
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here to secretary general of the oecd, not to approve the membership of israel unless there are equal rights and equal budgets for arab citizens exactly like the jewish citizens in israel. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much member of knesset tibi and that brings us full circle, no pun intended as we sit and look at the editor circle. we want to call upon you the journalist to ask the questions. i just as do we don't make statements, that we are able to address do we are, what outlet we are speaking for and to whom you are going to address the question. i am going to bring in the translator and a lovely translator is going to come and join us, so many questions that are asked in arabic are going to be translated immediately into
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english for this audience. so, if we can please by reza pants began from the circle of who was interested. if you can please go up to the mic. >> i would like to ask dr. tibi exactly what loyalty would be prepared to take and i would like to ask my eric colleagues here, my palestinian colleagues what have you received out of this meeting and was it worth coming? >> yes and you can answer from your mic. they are open. >> i don't like it because i am equal to them. [laughter] >> i am not going to really say what is going on here.
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>> not only arab members of the knesset or not of ready to declare as a scientist in jewish state. religious members of the knesset are with us in this position. not all the laws which were passed here are holy. that is why i am trying to change some of these laws, but i will not declare any idea or ideology which is totally against my belief and my narrative. we did, in every beginning,
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before one year, we did declare a relative to the laws of the state. given that, i am trying to change some of these laws, because they are not-- >> rus sullivan and michael fresen is the cofounder other going to be taking a much to rent to see who else would like to ask a question. i think it will make a little bit easier. by rates of hand. [speaking in native tongue] [speaking in native tongue]
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..
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yousuf. he insists speaking in arabic. i present the question to mr. ayalon who presented what the government has been doing a long ago concerning the peace and the speech that netanyahu read. contrary to what is going on on the ground as far as the settlements and the failure in the negotiations there is a great change, grave changed happened since 15 years ago that is true but my question is how can we reinstate and go back to peace talks and negotiations if in fact netanyahu is asking more demanding or presenting the report stage without any clear
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borders, no control over the borders, and he's not talking about jerusalem or the return of the refugees. we are talking about -- i didn't learn anything about this in the political science that a country can be established without having security, without having control over its security and without having capital which we consider as its capital. >> thank you. indeed what we see here is something unique for political science because we are talking here about creation of a new state. it has not existed before and you will see the irony of the history is the palestinian state will be created by the jewish state and by the jews.
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however, let me tell you that all the parameters that you mentioned should not be discussed here because this is exactly what we are trying to do behind closed doors. if you really want to take and make effective negotiations, used to quite eloquently the demands from the palestinian side. we have our own demand and should meet halfway in between however let me draw attention to everybody here that on two cases in the past eight, ten years there was a very, very comprehensive the offer by the israeli government's that put on the table once by former prime minister barack and at the second one by former prime minister olmert just a year and a half ago. one was to yasser arafat, the other was to mahmoud abbas, with very exact parameters as you discussed including borders and
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unfortunately they were rejected. this is not helpful for coming into the reconciliations. let me tell you also something that my good friend said. let me tell you i tried to get into a medical school. mr. rock med did get into medical school. very respected so when he talked about democracy also equal rights and i believe we do have equal rights, however -- is also a winter and economics school. i didn't go to madison school -- medical school and rightly so because he is more competent than me that he should get it and the fact that he is not the issue, it allowed him to become a successful gynecologist. when he talks about equal rights his equal rights also prescribe
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equal obligations and when we talk about the jewish state a jewish state, judy is in this novel the religion that is a national league and way of life in this vehicle exists 5,000 years or 4,000 years. as jews we knew we were a minority for 2,000 years. as jewish minorities and arab and muslim countries we played allegiance to the islamic countries and we didn't take it as a fence as jews but as members, citizens of whether it was turkey, the ottoman empire or egypt or any other country. we were loyal to the king. we were loyal to the country, we were loyal to whatever the country was designed whether it was a christian or muslim we did so let me emphasize here that we do not ask anything which is out of the ordinary throughout history and it is a double
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standard that arab israelis would not accept israel as a jewish state even as a minority and especially as they do have a choice, and i am proud to say that when we talk about a solution of the two state solutions we do not preclude the chance that arab israelis who do not wish to stay under the israeli sovereignty and regime would go without going physically, quote but what change and transfer their citizenship. there are 250 were 300,000 israeli arabs who live smack dab across the green line. when we talk about swaps at the palestinian request one of do a slot on equal footing if we are to incorporate a populated area, the settlement blocks into israel, why not have mice is
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really the liches, arabs, who will join the palestinian state? join their brothers and fathers? then we will not have this problem of loyalty to a state which they don't want to be. thank you. >> thank you. we have to be loyal to time to get more questions. thank you. i do want to set the record straight, mr. tibi come and let you know there were journalists who got permits from gazzo but they had to get permission from hamas and they did not get their permission so sometimes it's important to note on the record that what you see isn't always the way it happens. anyhow, can we move on to the next -- >> do you understand what she said? >> [inaudible] [inaudible] >> thank you.
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any questions? >> i should react to that, to mr. ayalon especially about his remark that i was accepted to the medical school in israel, and this is a sign of equal rights. i would like to say that i was accepted because i succeeded in my exams and all what is good in me is because of me, all what is bad of me is because discrimination of me as an arab. [laughter] first of all, second, about the idea of moving the ribs or revoking the arab citizenship of arab citizens in the state of israel, that is why we are seeing that we cannot accept and we totally denounce attention of
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the minister danny ayalon proposing dealing with us as guests. you can move from here to there. we were not brought here by airplanes to this homeland. we are indigenous. rr@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ n >> [speaking in native tongue]
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>> my question is for my colleagues, my journalists and line media critics. >> could you please state her name and what media outlet she is with. >> my name is judith from the israel broadcasting. >> thank you. >> state again. >> my question is to my colleagues to the extent do you find that your affect on the general society -- to what extent do you have an influence on the people and the population in your community and on your leadership as media members?
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>> ahman is going to take that. >> [speaking in native tongue] [speaking in native tongue] [speaking in native tongue]
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i am a member of the media line the -- >> [inaudible] >> i would like to answer -- we have a large extent as jordan analysts whether if we are i think is really or palestinians we are able to bring our voice forward to the leadership as well. i think this important meeting
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for palestinian and israeli journalists is on both sides. i think the leadership and the people who carry positions, important positions do watch the media and follow on what happens on the media, and it has great extent of influence, very often positive influence on the threat issues because leadership members also do watch the media and what is stated on that. >> thank you very much. thank you, ahmad. any questions please. >> [speaking in native tongue] [inaudible conversations] >> [speaking in native tongue]
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[speaking in native tongue] [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: welcome, everyone. i work for the israeli tv in arabic. i listened and follow the palestinian and arab stations on different occasions, and particularly the palestinian. what i see and what i notice is
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that the coverage of the palestinian or the arab stations is one-sided. usually we hear different criticism to the israelis stand, and i never hear any criticism towards the palestinian authority or to the palestinian word. >> who do you address your question because i think instead of making statements we are asking questions today. give someone else a chance first. anyone want to ask a question? >> i am david from the jerusalem post. i think first of all it's terrific that we have an opportunity to meet again, is really and palestinian journalists, and i did make the visit to ramallah a couple years ago which was very useful. i think, and i'm speaking to the palestinian journalists and i don't know who wants to answer this. danny ayalon set out quite a good consensual summary that is
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really is debate -- is release would like the contradiction of becoming a state by reaching accommodation with the palestinians, some kind of territorial compromise so that the israel that is left is overwhelmingly jewish and maintain that democracy. what i would like to know what would be useful if think for us to hear from some of our palestinian colleagues is what is the palestinians are of public attitude. we heard it in your question what about the right of return, what about a capital in jerusalem? i would like some sense from you, not need your personal opinion but the sense of whether the palestinian public is ready for a territorial accommodation, whether the palestinian public is prepared for palestine to absorb palestinian refugees in the way that israel absorb the jewish refugees in a readily stand north africa. in other words whether there is any hope of and negotiated accommodation because the feeling of israel is the last government tried couldn't megadeals therefore there is a
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lot of despondency in israel about the prospects for finding the middle ground. thank you. >> first of all i want to address this question to any of the palestinian journalists that would like to respond to david. >> [speaking in native tongue] [speaking in native tongue]
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[speaking in native tongue] >> please translate briefly. >> translator: thank you for the question. the palestinian public's attitude is very well-known and clear, which is towards a to state solution and towards peace. apparently that is seen from the elections and from electing mahmoud abbas who had an objection that was clear of the two state solution, and he had a higher number of votes and the
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elections. as for the refugees, no one who is forced to leave his land especially from the first were the second relation will see this as an easy solution but everybody in the palestinian -- of the palestinians feel and see the point of view of going toward coexistence and understanding that there are natural rights which are for both sides and they accept that. >> question for any of the members? >> [speaking in native tongue] [speaking in native tongue]
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[speaking in native tongue] [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: i am from the east voice from ramallah. i would like to give a reflection of my colleague and my israeli colleague has presented that when he watches palestinian channels he never hears any criticism towards the
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palestinian government or authority to an extent that is true because this did not come from something on the ground what happens on the ground. we are suffering as people. we demand a palestinian state. we demand the return to the borders of 76. we demand the demolition of the citizens. we demand to have a capital of darussalam. this is presented to with the israeli government and the israeli state and indeed we are demanding this and presenting these through our media. >> one last question. >> if i may come to questions. >> you may. >> [inaudible] >> can you please state --
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>> first question to mr. hanegbi. what can the cuddy my party offered that the government doesn't offer or let me ask in another way does the party of another plant, plan b different than the one that the netanyahu government offers to the darussalam borders and the second question to mr. danny ayalon. do they think they can achieve peace or right-wing government achieve peace without giving east jerusalem to the palestinians and without almost 100% of the 96 territories? >> thank you. i think that the kadima party cannot be, there is no question
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concerning its commitment to the peace process. we get to primm and esters, sure roane and initiated a unilateral thus proving his readiness to go forward with painful and president of the concessions and he was replaced by olmert who as mentioned before presented the said dustin to the palestinians as was never by counter suggestion. i guess the time he didn't feel comfortable to give -- he felt that olmert's days in the primer
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should are numbered and it wasn't logical for him to make concessions. a prime minister that might not be relevant within days or weeks or months, so this is something that can be understood. still, we are not@@@ @ @ @ @ @ years until we get back to power which will take years. so we don't tend to do with the media about the refugee issue
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are the possible solution in jerusalem. there is no way that it can be effected if it is going to be discussion in the media. it has to be closed doors on the table with palestinians and hopefully we will have a chance to be part of such negotiations. >> thank you. first of all as you heard my good friend and former minister we didn't call for kadima to join. i don't see much difference sexually we could have created broad coalition. we need the leadership in any government in the future, so but about your question it seems dramatic to put on israel because it could be just as
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relevant to ask the palestinian leadership do they believe they can reach an agreement with israel with full control over the sacred places of the temple mount with what you called the rate of return with 100% of demand territorial. so i would say these things should be discussed honestly and negotiation which would be direct negotiations without preconditions and things can be done now anything which is presumptuous or anything which would be prejudicial for any agreement. >> okay i will close after you if you can kind lycee a couple of words. >> i think at least i feel it was too short and maybe should
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be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue. i didn't come to hear myself or even to hear my friend, danny or even my friend, ahmad. we speak a lot and we fight a lot years and years and came here because i thought this was maybe an opportunity that i didn't have much before to hear. palestinian people who are involved in the media who reflect the feelings of their community and who can be partners for dealing with this release whether they are journalists are members but think we should call upon to make such meetings as many times as you can we will be happy to do it, not in front of the
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camera. this was important for the media but behind closed doors. and this is a good opportunity for us to get to learn each other and to be much more knowledgeable of each other's aspirations and hopes so i want to thank you again and thank all of you especially people who came from the palestinian authority who made the effort and are courageous enough to come. i want to thank you very much. [applause] >> before we close the session of one to thank the palestinian journalists that came today and there were hopes there were quite be many more of these sessions many more since we did in 2005 but many mark and his we are going to back-and-forth as a matter of fact david agreed to even try and go to ramallah and teach some photojournalism in the next few months so there's a lot of things we are going to be involved in and we are going to be informing you. most important i want to thank
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each and every one of you the journalists that came today. after all you are writing about the stories here. you are each covering the stories here. you need to have the access definitely. most important don't forget your colleagues in a profession that is not always simple and in this case before we close of one to thank the staff because they did an incredible job and i really do want to sing aloud a few people. rochelle, thank you very much. people don't realize how difficult it is to really make hundreds and hundreds of calls and try to get assistance, and i12 thank ahmad, you went above and beyond. and of course the best you know who you are. i just want to thank our hosting member tzachi hanegbi again and danny ayalon and ahmad tibi. many thanks. and with this, i close this session of the middle east press
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club. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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winston churchill. and now "in depth" with paul johnson. >> host: paul johnson, in your book "modern times," you kick it off this way: the modern world began on 29, may, 1919, when photographs of a solar eclipse confirmed the truth of a new theory of the universe. two questions. why that date, and why that event as the beginning of the modern world? >> guest: well, the world had always been governed for 250
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years by newtonian physics. and professor einstein introduced an important modification of that. this was his general theory of relativity which he produced in 1916. but he also said there are three tests by which this theory can be tested. if it fails any one of them, then we must scrap it and look again. he laid down these three tests, and the first and most important of them had to be made by observation during a solar eclipse, and that had to wait until the end of the war. and it wasn't until 1920 that an expedition was sent out to watch the eclipse and take measurements which could demonstrate whether the einstein theory of relativity met the
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test. well, it did so. and that introduced a new era in physics which, incidentally, was to lead to the creation of nuclear energy. so i thought that was a good way to begin my book, "my history to have modern times." because ultimately, scientific theories and theories of knowledge have more importance than kings and queens and battles and presidents and so forth. and the beginning of the era of relativity was an important punctuation date in human history. >> host: so how cataclysmic was that event in 1919? >> guest: how, sorry? >> host: how cataclysmic, how big of an event was that in 1919? >> guest: well, it was a very big event for scientists, less so for ordinary people. though gradually the idea spread
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that space wasn't in straight lines, it tended to be curved. and that relativity was a very important concept. unfortunately, people, a lot of people, misunderstood the significance of the term relativity, and they tended to translate it into moral terms. so we got the age of moral relativism in which people began to move away from absolute standards of right and wrong and accept relative standards. the communist theory announced in the '20s was that what mattered was the morality of the party. rather than absolute standards. and hitler adopted the same sort of attitude when he came to power in 1933. so there was a gradual spread of moral relativism which was
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extremely sinister for the human race and led to many inequities. so that was one consequence of the 1919-1920. >> host: paul johnson, are we still in the modern world, or are we in a postmodern world? >> guest: i don't like this term postmodern because it's meaningless. we are in the 21st century, and a lot of things have happened since the beginning of the modern age as i describe can it with einstein which have transformed the world in a number of ways. but some of the dangers that i outlined then are still with us and certainly the question of moral relativism is still with us. there are all kinds of people who want to bring out systems of morality which go counter to the absolute values of right and
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wrong which are enshrined in, for instance, the ten commandments which we've inherited through judeo yo christian morality. so that is one point. it's interesting, of course, that one of the lessons that einstein introduced when, with his general theory of relativity was he said every theory was a hypothesis, and that needs not just to be confirmed by observations, but it also needs to be false final because if it -- falsifiable because if it can survive tests of falsify about, then it's much more likely to be true. mere confirmation doesn't mean that the theory is true. but if it can survive, if it's shaped so that it can be falsified and can be subjected to falsification tests and if it
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survives those tests -- and he laid down the three tests that i mentioned -- then it's much more likely to be true. now, we get today in the theory of manmade global warming something which doesn't really fit einstein's standards. in the first place, it's a very vague theory which is constantly being expanded and added to to accommodate new information, and can in the second place, the people who support it say that though it's been confirmed hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times, but it hasn't been devised in such a way as to be falsifiable. so it doesn't really meet einstein's standards. and at the moment there's a great deal of evidence coming in to show that the theory, in fact, the false. and that was to be expected. if you're going to have a general theory about the universe, it must be made very precise.
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it must meet all these standards. it must be falsifiable, and those who hold it must be just as anxious to look for evidence that it is false as they look for evidence that it is true. so that is one lesson that we ought to learn from the beginning of modern times and apply today. and we don't seem to be doing it. >> host: well, mr. johnson, let's jump from the beginning of modern times to the end of a history of the american people. past and forward to it future, the august ris are that it will not disappoint an expectant humanity, and you wrote that in 1997. after the last 13 years, does that still hold true?
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>> guest: yes, very much so. one of the things i have learned through studying history and my study of history has embraced the ancient world and the medieval and early modern world as well as the modern world, one of the things i have learned is that if you have a society which is truly free, not just in having elections, but in allowing people to speak their minds and to do their work in an atmosphere of intellectual and academic freedom, if you have that kind of society, you're much more likely to survive because you're much more likely to produce new ideas leading to new inventions, new and better ways of doing things and better ways of increasing the general wealth. and so the particular wealth of individuals. if you have that freedom, then you're in with a much better chance can than societies which haven't.
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now, at the moment you have the united states which does have that freedom, it has a very large number of entirely free universities to begin with, it has a free media, it has schools where freedom is taught and practiced and, of course, it has a free political system at all levels. the united states is, we are told, in danger of being overtaken by communist china. now, communist china is not a free society. it's much freer than it used to be when, in the days when communist rule was absolutely absolute, but it is not free in that you can't always speak your mind, you can't always do the work you want in the way you want, you can't always listen and hear what is going on in the airwaves and so forth. the -- recently there's been
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withdrawal by google because they weren't allowed to operate freely, and that is one indication of what chinese cultural civilization is like. now, although china has advanced very rapidly, i think in the long run the united states will stay well ahead and probably increasingly ahead simply because it has that kind of free society which china doesn't. i would put more money, myself, on india coming up. i think probably during the process of the 21st century india will overtake china in terms of production and productivity and inventiveness and so on because the indian society is much more of a free society than china's. it's much more, it's much closer to the united states society than china's. and, therefore, it has this precious gift of freedom from which springs these enormous material benefits. >> host: do you think the indian
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example that you just cited could be, perhaps, because of its former association with the british empire? >> guest: i think to some extent that helped. i think the indian mind is much more diverse and enterprising than the chinese mind which tends to fit into certain categories. so that, of course, is helpful. but what britain did in the two or three centuries when it was running india was to give india the notions of political freedom and, above all, intellectual freedom. i think we had a very big influence on the educational system thanks to the great historian thomas mccauley who devised it. we had a great influence on the indian educational system. and that is a very precious legacy which we left the indians and which they have exploited and are exploiting to the full. so that is going to give them
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the edge, and i've noticed that although china has leapt ahead in the traditional smokestack industries as we call them, the sort of productive, mechanical industries producing consumer goods and semidurables and durables, on the intellectual side, on the really high-tech industries india has tended to concentrate on those and is going ahead on those. so as i say, my money would be on india to overtake china, but i still think that the united states will remain well ahead of the field. >> host: paul johnson, are americans unique? we tend to think of ourselves as unique. >> guest: well, i think you are unique in that you've had a different history. you see, the european powers and, indeed, the asian ones, too, their history goes back a
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very long time. and we don't know about the origins of many of them, even despite a lot of historical research. the united states is a different matter. of course, there were the indigenous peoples before the european, europeans arrived in the 16th century. nevertheless, it is possible to trace the origins of the united states from its very first beginnings and to show how it evolved, what were its earliest documents, what were the key events that took place during its formative years and so on. that in itself is a form of uniqueness. you anemic to the world. unique to the world. but secondly, right from the very start there was this element of constitutional freedom and political freedom.
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when the founding fathers came across on the mayflower, already while the mayflower was still afloat in the mid atlantic, they held their first as it were constitutional meeting in which they decided certain things they were going to do when they started the colony in massachusetts. so right from the very beginning there was an element of constitutional freedom in the make-up of america, and that is the second element of uniqueness in it. there is, however, a third. although it is true that the first settlers of the united states came from england, mainly from the west of england and from east anglia and they were very much english people, from a very early point in the evolution of the united states they began to attract settlers from other parts of europe.
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first in the never netherlands and germany and so on. and gradually, that settlement coming from the whole of europe spread and spread and spread until really by the time that america achieved it independence, it was already very much a multiple society coming from many different nations and absorbing the culture and interests and languages and vocabulary and ideas of all these different nations. and then gradually in the 19th century it intake spread to the whole world, and that has continued. and the united states still receives a very large number of immigrants from all over the world who quickly create very, very prosperous societies. now, that is the third element in the uniqueness of the united
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states. it's always been a country which is not homogeneous in that sense, but take thes it people from -- takes its people from all over the world and absorbs very different cultural ideas and inspirations. but it also manages through what was first called in the 1890s the melting pot system, it manages to homogenize to some extent these peoples so that it does have a common culture and a common sense of political morality. and that is a very, very important element in the uniqueness of the united states. >> host: welcome to booktv's "in depth." this is our monthly program with one author, and we look at his or her body of work, and this month is historian paul johnson who is joining us from london. we want to put the numbers on the screen so you can participate in this conference. 202 is our area code, 737-0001
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for those of you who live in the very snowy east time zone or the central time zone. and if you live in the mountain or pacific time zones, 202-737-0002 is the number for you to call. you can also send paul johnson an e-mail at booktv@cspan.org, or if you're a twitter user, you can follow booktv and send a tweet to paul johnson at twitter.com/booktv. here are some of mr. johnson's books, and as you can tell from this first 15 minutes, we've covered -- we've dipped into several different topics, but "a history of the american people," this is about a thousand pages. "modern times" is another book, "churchill" -- this is his latest, and then there's this trilogy of books that we will also talk with mr. johnson about, "the creators," "intellectual cans," "and
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heros." he's also written "a quest for good." a lot of mr. johnson's writings are infused with different religious thought which we'll also talk with him about. mr. johnson, before we leave america, uniqueness and america in@@@@@@rr
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>> guest: well, that is one man's opinion. and i don't share it. there are times, there have been many times in the last 50 years or so when american leadership has tended to flag a bit. when it's lacked articulation or it lacks courage or it lacks perception. and there are times when it gives very clear leadership. for instance, under jimmy carter i thought american leadership rather flagged and lacked inspiration. and articulation. but then under president reagan it came back again in a big way, and reagan led the world, helped, of course, by two other great figures, margaret thatcher
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and pope john paul ii. and the three of them together managed to destroy the great seemingly impregnable soviet empire and reduced soviet communism to rubble. so that was a case of a resurrection of american leadership. you can -- it's a matter of opinion whether it flagged again under bill clinton and then was resurrected again and whether it has flagged again under president obama. pram's had a year or so in office, and the feeling in britain, for instance, is that he perhaps talks too much and thinks too little. so you could say there is a flagging of american leadership too.
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however, underneath it all i don't agree that america is lacking in political or other morality. america is a highly religious society with complete freedom of religion and very flourishing churches and all kinds of religious organizations. and i don't think there's any lack of morality there or is there lack of moral leadership. i think the american people tend to sometimes they make collective mistakes, but generally speaking they speak out loud and clear on the right side. so i don't agree with the, with the opinions expressed. >> host: mr. johnson, how many u.s. presidents have you known, and does a u.s. president carry almost absolute weight worldwide?
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>> guest: well, i've known most of them since mr. truman onwards. some i've known better than others. i knew mr. nixon very well and your last president i knew quite well too. the present one, mr. obama, is quite difficult to get to see, and i haven't met him yet. so i'm reserving judgment on him. but i think this is an office which is unique in the world because it's the only office in the united states which everybody votes for. so the person who is elected president of the united states has a unique claim to represent the nation. the nation is a very big nation of over 300 million people, it's a very rich and powerful and productive nation, so inevitably the president of the unite is a
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very powerful figure, indeed. and the constitution of the united states does give him enormous powers. of course, he is to some extent limited by congress and by the judiciary, but he still has very, very large powers. so the president of the united states is a figure in the world that has to be reckoned as probably the most powerful person on earth. >> host: how is it that you've gotten to know all the presidents since president truman? >> guest: well, for many years i have been an active journalist crossing the atlantic many times, taking part in international events, covering american elections and so forth, and so occasionally one is privileged to be invited to the white house and to meet the president in person. which is always a very memorable
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and dramatic occasion for an individual, humble journalist like myself. >> host: what other world leaders have you gotten to though? >> guest: well, i've over the course of the years i've met quite a lot of them. general de gaulle, the man who brought back france from the dead as it it were, twice. once in 1940 when france surrendered to the nazis and he came to britain and created the free french, and he saved france's honor. and then again in 1958 when france was nearly submerged in the algerian crisis and taken over by the army, general de gaulle once more rescued france. and it's very rare, i think, for any statesman to rescue his country twice over. so meeting de gaulle was a
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very important event in my life and a very great privilege and experience. and, again, i met general, dr. ard nower who redeemed germany after the second world war and rebuilt germany, was a very, very important statesman. i met degas prix who did roughly the same sort of thing for italy, and i met others. i met famous and sometimes rather sinister clown, nikita khrushchev. and i saw him make his famous speech in which to the emphasize his points he took off his shoe and hammered away on the rostrum. that gave extraordinary indication of his rather savage determination and his willingness to believe that he was always right.
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so he was an interesting fellow to meet too. and i met mr. nehru who was the creator, to some extent, of modern india, and he was a very interesting person because he went to an old-fashioned english public school as we call them, you call them private schools. he went to the harrow. and in many ways he was a typical old health care arovian. but-also very much an indian of the bra man class, so he was another very interesting person to to have met. i've been privileged to meet quite a few of the big shots, and that has helped me in my work as a historian because to meet the people who make history is, gives you interesting insights into how history is made and, therefore, how history
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ought to be written. >> host: did you ever get a chance to meet your hero, winston churchill? >> guest: yes, i did. and i was very lucky, indeed. because when i was about to go up to oxford, i was a young man of 16, churchill came to my hometown. he was going to make a speech nearby, and he was staying at a rather exclusive little hotel in the town, and the manager of the hotel knew my mother. and he said -- this was in 1946. churchill was then out of office, but he was still leader of the conservancy party. and the manager said to my mother, if paul would like a chance at meeting winston churchill, if he'd be in the lobby of the hotel at quarter past nine tomorrow morning when he's about to set off to make his speech, i'll seal that he's
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well placed so he has a chance to talk to him. and churchill dual ri appeared. -- dually appeared. he was lighting his si far. and to -- cigar. and to light his cigar he had specifically-made giant matches. i've never seen anything like it, they were quite pieces of timber. and anyway, he was lighting his cigar, and he came over, and he gave me one of his giant matches. so i was encouraged to say, mr. winston churchill, sir, to what do you attribute your success in life? and churchill looked at me, and then without any hesitation at all he said, conservation of energy. never stand up when you can sit down, and never sit down when you can lie down. and he then marched into his limo and drove off to make his speech. and i've always remembered this. of course, he followed his own
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advice because he spent the morning as a rule in bed, but he wasn't idle. he was comfortable, but he was making telephone calls, he was dictating telegrams, he was dictating letters, he was receiving people, he was shaping what he was going to do in the rest of the day. in other words, he was conserving his energy because he was lying down, but he was very active at the same time. and i think one of the great things about churchill -- and it's a point i make strongly in my little book -- is that he always worked very hard, indeed. the whole of his life. i especially wrote my book to be read by young people. that's why i've made it so short, because young people are not always keen on reading long books. but i especially directed it at young people. and one of the lessons i'm
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anxious to impart to them in that book is always work hard. follow churchill's example. he worked hard all his life. he played hard because he realized that exercise and recreation is important to the efficiency of your work. so he played hard as well as he. but always he was at it, and he led long days full of activity, and that is one of the principle lessons of his magnificent life. >> host: well, another thin volume that you've written is about george washington, the founding father. could anyone else have done, in your view, what george washington and winston churchill did can during their political lifetimes? >> guest: no. no. i think one of the great strokes of luck which the united states had was george washington. of course, it had the
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fundamental luck of occupying and exploiting a uniquely rich and fertile country, wonderful agriculture, all the minerals you could possibly want, and plenty of space. so that was the primary stroke of luck which the american people have had. but i think to have george washington was another very valuable and unique streak of luck. because george washington was two things. he was a general, and he was a statesman. and he pursued the kind of strategy during the long war of independence, and it was a long, very exhausting war, he pursued the only kind of strategy which was open to the american people, and he won the war. but he then went on to supervise the constitutional arrangements,
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and when the constitution was drawn up and approved, he was voted into power unanimously. he went reluctantly, perhaps, but he recognized that he had to do it. and he implemented the constitution. he made the constitution work. and it's because of his laying the foundation stone not just of the constitution it, but in the way it was actually applied in practice that the constitution of the unite has worked so well and suitably amended, it's lasted a quarter of a millennium, 250 years or more. and all that is to some extent due to george washington. now, at the time some people did not have a high opinion of george washington. john adams, for instance, was very critical of him and thought he was stupid and so on. i don't think these views will
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bear examination once you get down to what george washington actually did. he was not a showy man, he was not a brilliant man in the sense that he was having flashes of wit or intuition of so on, but he was sound, solid, patient. he@@@@ @ g&rbrb owed a unique debt to george washington. >> host: well, let's take some calls for our historian guest, paul johnson. mike in tucson, arizona. you are first up.
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please, go ahead. mike, you with us? all right. we have lost mike. let's go to boston. doug in boston, please, go ahead. >> caller: hi. i wonder if paul johnson approves of the laws in europe that lock up historians for having a skeptical viewpoint on certain aspects of the second world war? specifically, david irving who i happen to consider a pretty damn good historian, and i'd be interested in his views. thanks a lot. >> guest: well, i lived through the second world war. i was 10 when it started, and i was 16 when it ended, so i remember it very vividly, indeed. and there were lots of things we didn't know then which we know now. but there will be arguments over various aspects of the second world war which will go on as
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long as there are historians in history. fortunately for churchill -- and this is quite an important point -- he got his word in first. in 1945, i remember this vividly, having led us to victory he was decisively rejected, or rather his party was, by the british electorate. and he was dumped into opposition having held supreme power for over five years. he was suddenly dumped into opposition, and the opposition labour party was given a landslide victory. and when that happened and on that same sad day for him, his wife comforted him by saying, well, darling, maybe it's a blessing in disguise. and churchill replied, it appears to be very effectively disguised. but his wife was right because
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not only did churchill recover his health in opposition where he wasn't subjected to the strains of government and, therefore, was able to go on for another 20 years, but he also had the time to write his great history of the second world war. it wasn't completely finished by the time he returned to power and office in 1951, but nearly all the work was done. and, therefore, he got this huge work finished, and it was published early in the 1950s. now, this was the first great history of the second world war by one of the people who'd been a principle combatant. and he got his word in first. of course, hitler was dead, fdr was dead, stalin thought he could get his version in through official history and how wrong he was.
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and most of the generals and admirals and air marshals and so forth had not yet got permission to use the documents. so their versions came out later. so churchill got his word in first, and his account of the second world war which is based upon the documents to which he had unique access is magisterial in tone and very long and full, and he had a lot of people to help him do it. he got his version became to a very great extent the accepted version of the second world war. and so he not only made history, but he wrote it, h and he wrote his version of it. >> host: next call for paul johnson, michael in philadelphia. please go ahead with your question. >> caller: hi. thank you for taking my call, mr. johnson, it's an honor to speak with you.
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i read your wonderful book, "history of christianity," which even though i'm of jewish descent, i greatly, greatly enjoyed and recommend to everyone who i end counter who's interest inside the subject. as a britton, and i watch the bbc news regularly, do you think that israel in the way it's portrayed in the british media gets singular focus on which order perceives as feelings because of domestic considerations such as the large muslim population of britain now, for consideration of having to do with oil, because of an historical legacy that britain was involved with the creation of israel in the first place, or a combination of these things? thank you very much. >> guest: well, i wonder, that's a very long question. could you make it a short one
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and then i'll try and answer it? >> host: mr. johnson, the caller is gone, but why don't you like to answer the portion you would like to. >> guest: well, it was so long. i mean, you're talking about is britain a christian country? is that what it was? >> host: well, tell you what. what if we take it this way, and this might not be what michael was looking for, but in your most latest book, "churchill," you talk about the creation of the middle east, and you talk about winston churchill's role and the british empire's role. and it's a rather brief section where you talk about that, and there's a lot of, there's some criticism out there about how brief that section is. but on the whole, britain's role in creating the middle east. >> guest: well, churchill, as i point out in the book, was unique in that he played a decisive role in the creation of not one, but three countries.
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first of all, there was iraq and jordan which he created after the, after the first world war when he was secretary of state for war and air in the british government. he was decisive in creating those two arab states. but secondly, in the 1920s he was, i think, decisive in making the zionist state of israel possible because it came under a great deal of pressure. a lot of pressure was placed on the -- placed on the british government to make it very difficult for the jews in israel to expand their settlements and accept a great many refugees from europe. and there was a possible, there was a real possibility that
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britain would withdraw theball fordeclaration of 1917 which made the jewish state possible. there was a key debate in the british parliament which could have led to the withdrawal of that declaration. churchill, who was well briefed upon israel and the middle east generally, made a remarkable speech which absolutely silenced opposition and led to the debate being concluded in a definite determination to maintain the jewish settlement in israel. so i think without him, without that vital speech he made, probably israel would not exist at this time. so there you have churchill playing a decisive role in the creation of three countries and, of course, to some extent in the
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present problems of the middle east. >> host: in 1976 paul johnson wrote "a history of christianity," and in 19 l 7 he wrote "a history of the jews." here's an e-mail we got for you, mr. johnson. the world is going to hell. the refrain of every generation about the world that succeeds them. is it true this time? >> guest: no, i don't think it is true. and, of course, in any stage in human history you can produce a lot of evidence to show that the world is going to pot and that it's not going to survive. but the world does survive. we're pretty well briefed on at least three or four thousand years of human history now. even before that we know quite a bit, but we know a great deal about the last three or four thousand years. and during all that period, and
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it's a long period after all, during all that period on the whole the world has become a better place. now, i'm not saying that we haven't invented new horrors and new sins because we have, but if you look at it from the point of view of the average ordinary family whether in the united states or in britain or anywhere else in the world, on the whole their standard of living has increased general -- generation to generation, particularly during the last two thousand years. now, there have been some periods in the last thousand, for instance, or a bit more when there have been very serious setbacks. in the 14th century, for instance, there was the catastrophe of the black death. the worst pandemic ever to affect the world that we know of. which in england, for instance,
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killed about a third of the population and set things back. but with that real exception, standards of living have gone on increasing every single generation since. and what we have witnessed during my lifetime, and it's been very agreeable to witness it too, is that in lance armstrong areas of -- large areas of the world despite a very rapid increase in population, everyone has been getting a square meal. they've had enough to eat, they've had enough -- they've got some kind of roof over their heads, they're getting some kind of health care, and they're getting a chance to travel around. now, that doesn't apply, alas, to everyone. but the number of people whom it doesn't apply to at all, who are still in great poverty, has been dwindling as a proportion of total population every year.
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and one of the things we have witnessed in the last 15 years or so is that the two most populist countries on earth, china and india, for the first time in their long histories have been able to provide a decent living for the great majority of their populations. that is an amazing fact and a very welcome fact. and i think it's one of the most comforting facts today. i'd like to think, i would brought up as a child before the war to think we always had to think of the poor starving millions of asians. well, that's no longer true anymore. they aren't starving anymore. they are getting enough to eat, and they're getting a great deal more. and i thought it very interesting that quite recently more, the market for cars, automobiles in china is now
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bigger than the united states. that doesn't mean to say that china's richer than the united states, but it means that the average chinese person and chinese family now has a chance of getting a car with all that that involves in movement, mobility and human contentment. so we are living in an age where are material advances are really very comforting and very considerable. and we must be grateful of that. now, of course, where your e-mail correspondent is nearer the truth is over the moral condition of the world. there hasn't been much improvement there. we've expanded enormously in a material sense, but our morality appears to be no better than ever in the past. and i'm afraid that is true. and if we go back through history and look at the time of george washington or go further
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back and look at the time of queen elizabeth and the armada or into the middle ages and the crusades or went back further still to the age of julius caesar, we have to admit that public morals on the whole have not substantially improved. there are still a large number of dreadful things that occur. and anyone who has lived through the middle decades of the 20th century, as i did, must take a certain pessimistic view about the ability of the world to improve it moral standards. never the less, i am not without hope that this can be done. i still take the view that on the whole the world is a good place, and it's getting to be a better place. but we must all do our, work our
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hardest to improve the moral standards because that is what is required. >> host: janice from kirkland, washington, e-mails in: in your history of the american people, i was struck by your thesis that establish colonialism actually was a financial drain on great britain )@@ @ rbrb figures, to show that on the whole we spent more than we gained by it. oirpd, we did gain -- on the other hand, we did gain, we did have a feeling that we were doing a good job in the world.
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we felt that we were bringing enlightenment and education and all kinds of things to hundreds of millions of end p yangs. we felt later that we were improving conditions in africa. so the moral return, the return in self-respect which we got from the empire confiscated, compensated for anything we lost in a purely material sense. and that, i think, applies to the middle east today. now, there's all kinds of arguments about whether we should have gone into iraq and whether we should have gone into afghanistan, these two very important campaigns we've fought with the united states. and certainly, there is a great deal of rising tide of criticism about them in britain today. particularly since there's been a commission of inquiry looking into the iraq involvement which
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has produced some rather disquieting findings. however, we have to remember that if you are a great power and britain together with the united states are two o of the great powers in the world today, if you are a power, you have responsibility. and if you think there is something wrong in a region where you have got interests and you can do something about it even if be that involves using military force, then it is a matter of fine judgment. as to whether you use that force or not. the united states constantly over the past 50 years or so has been faced with this dilemma, and american presidents time and time again from the time, for instance, of mr. truman who had to decide whether to intervene in korea on many, many
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occasions, perhaps 20 or 30 occasions, has had to decide whether to the use force or not in the interests of the area in question and also in the interests of the whole world. and sometimes mistakes have been made, but generally speaking, the american president has been correct. and i think this is also applied to britain, and i still believe we were right to intervene in iraq and right to intervene in afghanistan. now, history may prove me wrong. and we can't say. but at the moment on the evidence available we had to do that. and even though it may cost lives and even though it may cost a great deal of money, our position as a great civilized power demands that we should act if in the judgment of our elected leaders we ought to act. >> host: john in cose that mesa, california, thanks for holding. your on with paul johnson.
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>> caller: yes, thank you. mr. johnson, are you concerned with the situation in the u.s. where fewer and fewer citizens control more and more of the wealth of the u.s.? >> guest: well, this, of course, depends on what sort of statistics you take to examine, and i would have thought that in the united states as always in the past wealth is pretty widely distributed. i think one of the great things that happened in the united states was the policy applied almost from the beginning of the nation to make land available to people who wanted to farm it. and immigrants could come from europe to the united states. they could land in new york
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without much money at all, and they were enabled to buy land very cheaply and sometimes on credit and to farm it. and that meant that a huge agricultural industry was created in the united states involving millions and millions of people and that wealth, agricultural wealth was very widely spread. and from the savings of that agricultural industry, ordinary farmers and their dependents and families were able to invest in industry so that, again, from a very early point in the nation's history the wealth, the actual ownership of american industry was very, very widely spread. so that is something which is a central fact in the american economy and in american history. and in the sense of and the
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feeling in the united states that the people and the country are one because the ownership of the country is very widely spread. now, if it is, indeed, true -- and i'm not cop vinceed of this -- convinced of this -- that there is a substantial tendency in the united states for wealth to concentrate in fewer and fewer hands, for there to be an overconcentration of wealth in a minority, then, of course, that is a very serious criticism of the way the country has been conducting itself. and any american government ought to take important and fundamental steps to put that right. it is part of america's uniqueness and part of america's quality as a successful society that wealth is very widely distributed. that must be continued. >> host: the next call for paul
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johnson is from brian in michigan. please go ahead, brian. >> caller: well, thank you. and thank you, mr. johnson. one thing i do always enjoy is speaking with someone that's a little bit older than me and i can always learn something, and i've learned a lot this morning. but america's strength has been through, let's just look at world war ii to today, has been through manufacturing and like you correctly call it, our way of pushing forward and figuring things out. we ask our politicians today as we look to manufacture and you know we've lost a lot of our auto industry is how, how we can truly compete at $1.50-$3.50 an hour in mexico and china? we just don't see that, sir. we've lost 1 out of every 10 jobs associated with the auto industry. could you give us a little bit of guidance and look ahead to
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where we're going to fall? right now we just don't see that. our jobs have been lost through the new world order. we're glad that china's getting better, we're glad that india's feeding itself, we're happy for all these things, we relish it. it's what we're fear for, but we don't see what we're going to stand in on this. even at minimum wage, sir, we cannot compete on these jobs that we've lost, and it doesn't look like we're going to get 'em back. >> host: mr. johnson. >> guest: well, i don't worry myself so much about the jobs that are lost to overseas competitors with lower living standards and lower wages. what i am concerned is by the jobs that are being created. that is what really matters. because it is inevitable ha some industries -- that some industries as they spread throughout the world, as the expertise spreads and the capital becomes available, that in the advanced countries like the united states that these
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industries domestically should decline as foreign competition increases. that doesn't matter so long as the advance power like the united states is moving into new industries which require less labor, which require more capital and more expertise. and i think the united states will remain strong and remain economic leader of the world so long as those three conditions are in place. so long as it has enough capital which is freely available to go where it's needed to create new industries, where it has enough intellectual leadership to provide the expertise to shape and fashion and make expert these new industries, and thirdly, where it has the freedom to develop these new industries.
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there are industries starting up in the united states today that we don't know about but which in 20 or 30 years' time will be world leaders which will be huge things like international business machines where it was once quite a small company and gradually developed and became very important with world leaders. again, the software revolution and things like google. america can lead the world so long as it has the available and flexibility of capital, so long as it has the intellectual leadership, and so long as it has the freedom to enable these things to operate. now, i think if you look at american universities, you will find all kinds of things going on there which are rich in
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promise for the future. so don't worry too much about the jobs that are being lost in old industries. worry about whether there are sufficient jobs being created in new industries because that's what america is essentially about, and so long as those new industries come forward and are pressed forward with sufficient capital and sufficient intellectual energy, america will remain the top nation. ..
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and has been associated with the american enterprise institute here in the u.s. what is your association, mr. johnson? >> guest: well, in ç'1979, '80 the american enterprise institute asked me to come across as a visiting professor for a year. and i was delighted to do that. and that is where i did the basic research or a lot of it from my book, "modern times." but more than that, the aei has close associations with government. and a lot of the fellows there have had important positions, have held important positions in government. both in the bureaucracy and in congress. and in ministerial positions,
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too. so when i was there, there were about 40 fellows. and if -- and it was based on a sort of quadrangle like an oxford or cambridge college. and if i wanted to know something -- if i wanted to know something about how the american system worked, i could walk along the quadrangle and find the office of somebody who not only knew the answers but had actually helped to make them work. who held office or had an important position within the american government.ç so that was a hugely useful and absolutely fascinating experience to me.ñ and i've always been very grateful to thexd aei for makin it possible. it wasi] one of the most valuab years i've ever spent in my life. >> mr. johnson was a long time columnist for the spectator and
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received the medalç of freedom from president bush and writes a column for forbes.com.ç mr. johnson, in modern times, you start with a psalm. thousand thousand salt be wise oey kings ye judges of the earth. >> guest: well, that was quite i thought a good quotation to use for the opening of the history of the world. because the history of the world is a history of great sharks and terrifying events. and the wise and fall of powers and empires and wars and catastrophes as well as long periods of peace. and i think it is very important that one should learn the lessons of this.
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and that's why one writes history. and that's why i like people to read history. in the middle ages, history was defined myth preachers as the school of princes and that was right. princes were taught history so they'd learn how to rule wiselyb so that people not only read history in theory but actually read it in practice. that, of course, is one reason i've written my little book on churchill.
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it's quite short. 170 pages and -- churchill had a long life and the american people are very interested in churchill and not least young american people are fascinated and interested in churchill. and fortunately young people, we find, are reluctant to read long books.w3 do you think you could do us winston churchill in a short book. so i said i will certainly do my best. and try. so one of the things i do when i'm writing history is to think in terms of the reader. can i write a history --73(ri write a history book which a reader will find as entertaining
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and as interesting and as unput downable as a novel. that's what i tried to do. and i think i'm in a good tradition in that. because there have been a number of historians who have done this. gibbon did it. and mccauley did it. and some of the great american historians have done it, too. so that's what i try and do is to write history, which people will read because they find it readable. >> host: well, there was a çmann in the "washington post" about your "churchill" book. winston churchill made many huge blunders during his long careerç in this slim but worshipful new biography paul johnson wants to explain them all way and he ends saying that johnson book give us a cartoon version of the man. >> guest: well, he could try and write that book himself.
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i point to churchill's mistakes which were many because he had to take a lot of decisions in the heat of the moment and you do make mistakes and some of his mistakes were quite serious. some mistakes he made in the first world war -- he was probably unwise to get involved in the invasion because he didn't have sufficient power to be in charge and to run it properly.e1 and he was blamed for that for the rest of his life. he made mistakes in india. he was against giving rule and freedom to india which i thi' was a mistake. and, of course, he made mistakes in the second world war. a lot of people would say that the bombing campaign against germany was a mistake, particularly the bombing of dresden. i don't actually agree with that view but it's a tenable view.
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and there are many other criticisms which could be levied against churchill. i don't minimize his mistakes. if you are running a world war and concentrating a great deal of power in yourself, which he had to do, and that's why the second world war was run much more successfully than the first one because churchill had sufficient power to run it properly -- if you are running a world war on 20 different fronts all over the place, all over the globe, you're bound to make mistakes. but you have to accept that fact and press on regardless. and i'm sorry if the reviewer thought i was writing a cartoon version.ç that's not the general review from the reaction i have got. but, of course, if you are writing the life of a very great man who lived to a great age and was more than 55 years in
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parliament and nearly 10 years as prime minister, 20, 30, 40 years in office, you have a long story to tell. briefly, then you have to simplify. and people can easily say, oh, this is just a cartoon version. but i think it is bertha people should read a short book than not read anything at all. and i think there are more lessons to be learned from the life of winston churchill which apply today than there are from any other great man who lived in the 20th century. and, therefore, i think it's better to write a short version with all its faults and limitations and handicaps. which people will read. than to not to write at all. and so that people don't know about him. so i'm quite unrepentant on that point.
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>> host: vin in los gatos, california. thank you for holding.zv you're on with mr. paul johnsonr >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i want to make a comment and just ask your opinion about it.d you know, i love my country as most americans do. and, you know, most americans would probably be willing to lay down their lives to protect this great land. and there have been some mistakes in the past. that america has made but americans have gotten around to correcting the wrong. well, getting on the issue of morality. before you talked about how, you know -- i think it was a polish president who said that america is still strong militarily and somewhat economically but they seem to be using -- losing their morality edge here. i'd like to point one thing out to put this in perspective. in this country, millions of people a year lose their health insurance.
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and millions more don't have health insurance. so in america, as far as i know the only major industrialized country that allows its citizens to go bankrupt and lose almost all they have just because their child gets sick or they get sick. so could you understand why other countries may look at america as less than moral these days. >> guest: well, i don't think that's what most people would base their criticism of america on. because america spends a great deal on health. and it has on the whole a very healthy population. and it is leading in many fields of medical research. so i don't think that's how they will criticize america chiefly. so devise the purpose system of public health for a great nation of 300 million people or more is a very difficult thing.
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i'm very glad that president obama has tackled the problem. and i hope he succeeds in solving it in a way in which most americans can accept and make workable. but it is a very difficult thing. and nobody really has solved itt the british have -- we have our own system. which goes back to 1948. of the national health service. it's very, very much criticized in britain. the french have a somewhat different system which i've zo heard very much criticized. the russians have one. the chinese have one. the indians -- it is one of the most difficult things facing the world today because everybody wants not just to be saved from disease and unfortunate things happen to them but to have good health. and good health is obtainable because of medical research and
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medical practice. excellent hospitals and other health centers but it's very, very very expensive. and it gets more expensive all the time. as research intensifies and the practice and the instrumentation becomes more complicated and expensive. so we are tackling something which is ultimately an insoluble problem because it's changing all the time. but i think that america is making efforts to get an equitable system. and i don't think that is one of the ways myself in which america is lacking in moral leadership. >> host:u! next call for paul johnson bernie in brooklyn. please go ahead. >> caller: thank you. mr. çjohnson, i'm glad you brought up the invasion in particular. i read churchill's experiences -- his version of world war i.
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incidentally i have two questions. the first one about the invasion and the second about writing history. so in the invasion, according to hisç writings, his neighborç was to force the dardinels by naval assets and to bomb istanbul and force turkey out of the war.
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he has a point of view, a clear point of view of how he writes his history. and what i'm wondering is -- was with respect to historians. should they and can they minimize this aspect in their writing? thank you. >> guest: well, the answer to those two questions are as follows: the first question -- i don't want to go into the details of galipi but there's a general principle here. churchill did not have overall control of the invasion. operation. if he had done it would have been better planned and more likely to have been successful. the government itself was weak because because the prime minister was a peacetime prime minister. he didn't really know how to run a wartime government. and he allowed the power over the invasion operation to be widely distributed between the
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generals, the admirals and the politicians. and was that the real reason for the failure. it wasn't churchill's fault. if lloyd george who came to power shortly afterwards and was a true wartime leader, had been in charge then instead of after ward, he would have given churchill overall command of the operation and then, i think, it would have been better planned and pressed through to a successful conclusion. that's the answer to the first question. the second question concerns the opinions and views of historians. i am quite clear about this. i think historians inevitably should have views. and it's quite right that they should have views. you cannot but have views if you're writing history. you're bound to reach conclusions as to why things happened and whether what happened was excellent or bad or indifferent. you're bound to have views.
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and i don't think it matters if historians have views so long as they make it clear to the reader that they have views and are expressing the views. and that is my method. i always make it clear to the reader as clear as i can that i have gotten certain views about the subject and i underline when i don't claim an objectivity. i try to be honest with the reader and say i have views and these are what my views are. i think so long as you are straight with the reader, it doesn't matter if you have views. you're bound to have views and you ought to express them. but you must make it clear to the reader that you are expressing them. >> host: mr. johnson, did you know the late howard zinn or -- and to further that question, who are some of your american historian friends?
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>> guest: well, i think mr. zinn was a very biased historian. and i don't think he was a very good one. but, however, i think he made his opinions fairly clear. everyone knew that he was leaning heavily onto the left. so i think he was reasonably honest with his readers. but that isn't a sufficient reason to read him in my view. now, a good example of an american historian whom i respect was the late arthur schlesinger. arthur schlesinger began life with a wonderful book about the age of jackson. i still think it's his best book. and he then went on to write
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some very important books about modern history and the age of roosevelt and the kennedys and biographies and so forth. and i very much admired arthur schlesinger because he was right in the thick of it. he wasn't afraid to take officeh historian because he held office and had served in parliament. and i like historians to have a spell in congress or even a spell in government because they learn a lot about it. and to revert to the aei -- one of the reasons i found it so
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valuable is that some of the people there who were writing books and so on had actually served in the administrations. and, therefore, knew how things were done. so i like of a historian to oscillate between government and the writing of ho er. i think that results in better government and better history. >> host: mary ann sends in an email, how did winston churchill's relationship or lack thereof have an influence with his ultimate connection with fdr and the usa? >> guest: well, you have to remember about churchill was that he was half american. indeed, in my view, and i say it in the book, the american half was more important than the english half. because i think his mother, an american lady, was the dominant figure in his genetic composition and in his life.
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because after her husband died, she entered her whole hopes in young winston and helped him enormously in all kinds of ways to get launched in the world. so the american element in winston churchill was very, very important. that meant that he was favorably disposed towards what went on in america. he got on well with americans. i mean, he was a typical product you might say of the english system in that he went to harrow, a typical english upper class school. and he went into the army, into a cavalry regiment and all that. got involved socially and so forth. and he was the grandson of a duke you have to remember, too. but he also had a kind of openness and egalitarian, which he got from his new american genes. and this was very, very
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important. when he bowed to queen elizabeth ii as he did towards the end of his life, his bow was worth watching. it was very slow. it was very stately. it was very humble. and it was very low. but churchill was not bowing to monarchy as such. he was bowing to the constitution. he was bowing to parliamentary history. he was bowing to english history as a whole. and in that bow, he expressed his belief in the system that he had inherited of the anglo-saxon side. and i think it was natural that he should get on well with fdr.
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he didn't get on as well as he'd have liked to. he often said that he devoted more emotional energy to try to manage roosevelt and to get him to agree to what he wanted and so so forth. than he did to anything to the whole of his life. because fdr disagreed with him on a lot of things and he was much too optimistic about the good feelings of stalin, the soviet dictator and of the soviet union in general. much more favorably disposed of them than winston churchill wanted. and often winston churchill couldn't get his way with fdr, particularly, towards the end. particularly at the famous or notorious yalta conference. nevertheless, any other english leader would not have got on so well with roosevelt. as churchill did.
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their partnership was unique in modern history. and it was a very successful one. and often when i'm talking to english leaders like tony blair or margaret thatcher, i'm often inclined to say to them. it's very important to study the relationship between fdr and churchill. and to read the letters they exchanged because that gives you a kind of guide as to what anglo american relationships should be. and how the special relationship should function. and the special relationship with all its faults and all its limitations is still the most important geopolitical fact in the entire world. and long may it flourish. that was laid down in its modern form by churchill and fdr together. and i always try and encourage british leaders to stick to that formula and to make it work.
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>> mr. johnson, how well do you know the queen? and what's the significance of her role in history? >> guest: well, i don't claim knowledge of the queen. i met her only formally but her role is very important. every government needs a top tier above them. to complete the constitution. the united states government is unique in that it doesn't have this system. because the president elected by the entire nation, it is true, is head of state as well as head of government. on the other hand, to balance that, you have the division of powers with a very powerful congress and a very powerful judiciary in particular the supreme court. so that's how you solve that problem. but in most countries, there is a head of state as well as a head of government. we have a monarchy. we're not the only one.
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there are half a dozen or so where the monarchy works well. and sometimes even in our times it's been shown to be a very useful instrument. the notable case being modern spain where they restored the monarchy and it seems to have worked very well there. we find the british monarchy works well. it suits the british people. they like it because it's old but it's also refashioning itself all the time. and i think the queen, though, a remarkably modest and unpretentious person who never shows off and who never is trying to put her point of view all the time, the remarkably modest person has, in fact, ruled with a considerable degree of wisdom. and, of course, we have to remember now that she's a very
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experienced person. when a new prime minister takes office, he discovers that he has to report every week sometimes oftener to a lady whose experience goes back to 19 -- the early 1950s. who has been on the throne for half a century. who has known all kinds of wars and rumors of wars and constitutional crises. and economic crises. and who has learned from them so she is a great fund of wisdom. and i remember telling tony blair just before he became prime minister, you make proper full use of her majesty the queen. consult her always. pay considerable attention to what she tells you because she is a great repository of experience and has a great fund of human wisdom.
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and so i think the queen unus a osttentacious. >> host: richard from carmel, california. you're on with paul johnson. please go ahead. >> caller: mr. johnson i heard you once speak with robert conquest about intellectuals and what makes an intellectual. i was wondering if you could comment on whether barack obama is an intellectual. and if you believe in his experience in education he is intelligent. >> guest: well, i've written a whole book about intellectuals, which i commend to you. i hope that barack obama is not an intellectual. because i define intellectuals
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as follows: as intellectual is someone who believes that ideas matter more than people. well, ideas matter a lot, but they don't matter more than people. and i think if you go on that assumption, if you're running a big nation, you'll come acroper. you'll make terrible mistakes and they could can very fatal mistakes. i hope he's not an intellectual certainly in that sense. i think he is someone who pace a lot of attention to intellectuals. and that is fine. i mean, so long -- it's like what churchill said of economists. he said economists should be on tap but not on top. and i think it's fine for a president to consult intellectuals. and indeed to listen to what they have to say. and if necessary, read their
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reports and read their books but they should be on tap and not on top. so i hope mr. obama is not an intellectual himself. and i hope that he makes proper butot indiscrim -- use of the president. >> host: some of the people you profile include russo, henrik and tolstoy whom you describe as god's elder brother, ernest hemingway, jean-paul sartre. are you not a fan of intellectuals because in other books you've not been a great fan of some of these people. >> guest: well, as i say, they put ideas before people. a very good example was breck who always treated people badly 'cause he wasn't interested in people. he was only interested in ideas.
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and jean-paul satre whom i met in paris he tended to be the same. he'd make use of people. and i expect lillian helmand was very much the same kind. i think occasionally you get intellectuals who realize sometimes late in life that ideas should not take precedence over people. and i cite an example as edmond whose belief in ideas and i call that chapter a brand snatched from the burning. so i think that was a case where a man was very interested in ideas but came to realize that people were more important. you can't beat people. they are what matter. and ideas should guide you,
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inspire, help you and give you something to live by and so on but it's people who matter in the end and i think it's particularly important that the president of the united states should be very much of that mind. that people come before ideas. >> host: we're about halfway through our "in depth" program with paul johnson. we're going to take one more call. then we're going to take a little bit break, about 7 minutes. and then we'll be back live again until 3:00 pm eastern time. cherri in kansas city, missouri. please go ahead. >> caller: hi. what i'm curious about is that you hold george washington in such high esteem when we here in the united states are being taught that our founding fathers are hold and outdated. that their principles are irrelevant anymore. and i'm just wondering in the perspective of he who wins gets to write history. why the britains are more apprised of where our history came from than we are. and why would that be?
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why is it that americans can't hold up george washington and salute him but the britains are? >> guest: well, i don't know about the answer to that. i think on the whole, the americans -- the american people have cause to be very grateful to the founding fathers. they were a very remarkable group. they combined knowledge of the world with knowledge of books. they combined all the best that had happened in france with the best that had happened in britain over the -- during the 18th century. they were men of action in many cases. and they were men of decency. you know, they were decent people. they had the right sort of notions about how to behave in the world and how to behave in government. they didn't agree with many things. certainly jefferson didn't agree
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with washington. or with adams for that matter. but taken collectively they had the right answers. so i think america was very fortunate in her founding fathers. nowadays they may -- some people may say they are irrelevant. i don't agree with that at all. i think if you read@@@@ @ @ @ @d washington thought and felt and wrote. and he's very well documented is still relevant today. a lot of what jefferson wrote and what adams wrote.
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a lot of those people had things to say which still resonate in the early part of the 21st century. and that is why i think we ought to study them and revere them. >> and do you think americans know enough about their history, mr. johnson? >> guest: no. nobody knows enough about their history. i think it's one of the weakness of our education system on both sides of the atlantic. and the french have the same complaints and even the germans that school children don't learn enough history. as i've said, history was the school of princes of the old days and it's the school of peoples today. and the more history they can learn at school -- and above all, learn the taste for history so they go on reading it as adults. i think it is very important to read books of history and read books of biography. and the more history we know, the more sensibly we will view
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our rulers and help to correct them or help to encourage them. >> host: and finally, this email before we go to break from attila in connecticut. who are some of the leading intellectuals in america that you have known and we should know more about? >> guest: well, that is a very good question. and i'm not sure that -- i praised arthur schlesinger. i think he was a very great man. i like edmond wilson, myself. i often read his books. and i'm -- i find his book on the civil war particularly good. there's a lot of americans today who are writing in certain publications. for instance, the new criterion. i get that every month and i enjoy it very much. i enjoy national review.
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i think that's another very good paper that i read. i read "the new republic." that's excellent intellectual paper. i think there are some very good writers writing in the "wall street journal" today. somebody mentioned rob conquest, strictly speaking he's an englishman and he has lived in america for several years and he has very good and sensible things to say. so he's another person that i would praise and distinguish. there's no shortage of good writers in america writing about important subjects. and a lot of my reading is spent reading american publications and books. >> host: we are live with paul johnson. and now we're going to take a little break. about 7 minutes and then we will be back live to take your calls, emails and tweets, which we've gotten several.
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and we will get to, i promise. but in 2006, paul johnson received the presidential medal of freedom from president bush. we're going to show you that ceremony. we're also going to show some of mr. johnson's favorite authors and some of his -- what he's reading now. and finally mr. johnson appeared on "booknotes" on our old "booknotes" program in 1998. he's going to talk about his writing habits and then we will be back live. >> the struggle of freedom and tyranny has defined the past hundred years and few have written of their struggle with fewer skill is paul johnson. his book is a masterful account of the grievous harms by ideologies of power and coercion. in all his writings paul johnson shows great breadth of knowledge and moral clarity. and a deep understanding of the challenges of our time. he's written hundreds of articles and dozens of books.
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including the history of the jews, the history of christianity. the quest for god. and the birth of the modern. obviously the man is not afraid to take on big subjects. [laughter] >> eight years ago he published "a history of the american people" which dr. henry kissinger said it was in scope as the country it celebrates. paul johnson calls americans the most remarkable people the world has ever seen. he said, i love them and i salute them. that's a high tribute from a man of such learning and wisdom. and america returns the feeling. our country honors paul johnson and proudly calls him a friend. [applause] >> paul johnson.
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a brilliant historian and author, his writings have captivated and educated people around the world. from histories judaism and christian u-christianity to the defining of events, ideas and personalities of the 20th century to the story of the american people. he has eloquently chronicled the forces that have shaped our world. a citizen of the united kingdom, he holds america in special regard. calling the creation of our nation the greatest of all human adventures. the united states honors paul johnson for his landmark contributions to sharing the lessons of the past so that they may inform the present and shape the future. [applause]
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>> where do you write? >> guest: i write mainly in my study in london which overlooks my garden. it's quite a small room. and i have a desk with two electronic typewriters at it. in an l shaped formation.
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and with a swing chair. now, on the first of those, on the left, i write the main text of the book. on the second i write the source notes so that i can do them at the same time just by swinging the chair. now, that saves an enormous amount of time. if you write your text and you then come back to it and start doing the source notes, it's a nightmare and a lot of writers do that, i'm afraid. it's a very serious error. and that's what leads to a lot of mistakes. but if you do them my way, at the same time, and incidentally you can do this on a word processor, obviously, that is the way i do it. and i also -- my study is sufficiently small so that all my, say, 3 or 400 principle works of reference, dictionaries and so forth and dictionaries of dates, they are all within an arm's reach. that's the way i write books. >> host: and what time of day do you write? >> guest: i can start as early as 4:00 in the morning.
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in the summer when it's nice and light by then. and you can work undisturbed for hours. the telephone doesn't ring. and people don't interrupt you. also, i'm a morning man. my brain seems to work better in the morning. it doesn't apply to all writers. some writers -- my friend tom, for instance, writes his plays often very often at night. i ring him at lunchtime in the morning he's not yet up because he's been working throughout the night 'cause his brain works best in the evening but mine works best in the morning. and that's when i get the bulk of my work done between -- anytime between 4:00 or 6:00 and at 2:00 i get my lunch. >> host: are you a fast writer? >> guest: yes. >> host: how many words a day? >> guest: well, as i say, all my notes are in order and the planning is working and so on, i can do 3,000 words a day, day
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after day. and sometimes on a really good day, i can notch it up to 4,000 or even 5,000. 2,000 is a bad day. >> host: do you do it seven days a week? >> guest: sometimes. i don't absolutely put myself in a straight jacket. i do have targets and deadlines that i set for myself. but if i'm tired, i stop. and you can also tell that, at least i can, because i have to think for words more than usual. and if i'm tired, on any particular day, i stop. and if i wake up in the morning and something tells me not to write that day, but to take a day off, i do so. sn
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>> host: and we are back live with paul johnson, historian, who is joining us from london. if you would like to call him, we've got about an hour and a half left to go in "in depth." 202 is our area. -- area code. you can also follow book tv updates throughout the week if you sign up there. mr. johnson, who is karl popper. >> guest: karl popper was an austrian who came to england -- who taught in new zealand philosophy. who then came to england and who
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died here not so long ago at a great age. he did two very important things in his life. first of all, he wrote a book called "the open society and its enemies" in which he identified the nature of totalitarianism. and contrasted it with the nature of true democracy and republican government. that was one of the important thing he did. secondly, he wrote an excellent book on how science operates and what is good science and what is bad science. and i think he had more influence on my thinking and writing than almost anyone else. and one of my proudest possessions is a wonderful letter he wrote to me when my
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book "modern times" was published and he read it. and he strongly approved of the book. and of the opinions expressed in it. of course, he lived through all those years. he wrote me this wonderful letter which i have frames. -- which i have it framed and hangs over my desk. he's my favorite philosopher. and i think he is particularly important today if his advice as to how science should be conducted, how hypotheses and theories should be framed and how they should be substantiated and justified and if not justified fortified, all that is highly relevant to the current debate on manmade climate change. and i think if karl popper's example and instructions and
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advice had been followed some of the mistakes which are not -- are now coming to light and are discrediting the whole scientific establishment would not have been made. so he is an important philosopher of science as well as politics whose example and writings are highly relevant today. and his book on scientific method ought to be read by all scientists, whatsoever. >> host: paul johnson, we just showed our viewers your favorite historical figures. your favorite writers. and your favorite books. one of your favorite writers you told us was mark twain. and we got this twitter message. your favorite author mark twain considered your favorite politician teddy roosevelt a religionist war-monger? >> caller: well, opinions differ. and mark twain was a man of strong opinions. th

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